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BWW Review: Bruno Giraldi Tries Hard In THIS IS BRUNO at Don't Tell Mama


BWW Review: Bruno Giraldi Tries Hard In THIS IS BRUNO at Don't Tell Mama

In dance, there is a foundation upon which is built your career, and it is your training. Whenever a dancer finds that they have lost their way, that things aren't quite as good, as precise, as strong, as focused as they should be, that dancer goes back to the beginning: they go back to class. At the ballet barre, it is possible to rediscover your center, both physically and mentally, and reboot yourself so that your work can represent that which is most uniquely and beautifully you. At the ballet barre, you are at the most basic and productive place a dancer can be, a place where there is no thinking, only dancing, no interpretation, only technique. At the ballet barre, it is only you and the movement. Going back to the barre will always bring a dancer home.

Bruno Giraldi needs to head back to the barre.

Mr. Giraldi has just finished a round of shows at Don't Tell Mama in which he has introduced himself to the Manhattan cabaret community. The show, THIS IS BRUNO, is his maiden voyage into the art form, at least in New York City - he may have appeared in solo shows in his home country of Argentina, but that is a topic left undiscussed during his 55-minute outing, much of which was misguided and in need of reexamination. This statement is made in no attempt to discourage Mr. Giraldi from pursuing his dream to be a performer, rather it is designed to encourage him to keep trying because even though this writer found flaws in the evening's entertainment, there are also benefits to supporting Bruno's quest. In the first place, Giraldi is incredibly likable, and quite funny, though his most humorous bits are when the comedy comes directly from his personality and not from jokes and gags that come off as carbonation-lite. Secondly, Giraldi has a pretty singing voice, albeit one that needs further training, and that is the best place for him to start his journey back to the barre.

In This Is Bruno, Mr. Giraldi takes on some big material and some big notes. It is clear that he has an affinity for power ballads and showstoppers - the only problem is that his voice has not been trained for them. He certainly has the power and the volume, but each time that Giraldi goes for the money notes, an obvious lack of training drives him off of the pitch, most usually under, while simply standing still and quietly singing the numbers that are less demanding allows Bruno to share with his audience a sweet voice and an ability to communicate his story, a desire plainly apparent to all. Bruno Giraldi is longing to tell stories, and in order to effectively do that in a cabaret venue, he will need to return to his voice teacher and reexamine his skill set.

Mr. Giraldi will also need to reexamine his setlist. Until he is ready for them, the big notes have to go, but there is more to a club act than just the style of the songs - there is the message of each tune, and when a neophyte opens his debut club act with THE GREATEST SHOW, telling the audience how great his show is, and then begins his opening monologue by saying "welcome to my fabulous show" it can appear condescending, something that happened a few times during This Is Bruno. Giraldi treated his Freshman outing as though he were a fully established Las Vegas star, complete with Hugh Jackman choreography, Judy Garland mic cord whipping, and a black scarf thrown around his neck when it would have been more appropriate for him to appear in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. A performer has to earn those affectations through years of experience that render such production values as natural, but that, in this case, only made the performer seem coy and uncomfortable. The most authentic moments in This Is Bruno were the times when he sang in his native tongue, always to enjoyable effect, and when he spoke about the political unrest throughout the history of Argentina - a topic about which Giraldi has an obvious passion that showed in the honesty with which he shared the story, an honesty lacking in the more contrived nightclub patter used to further the rest of his show. The affable Giraldi came close when discussing his love life but could have landed that dialogue better with a crystal clear message, just as he could have really scored a home run with "Bring On The Men" by discarding the inappropriate dance moves in favor of simply standing at the mic and singing to audience members, one by one, using the directness of his gaze into theirs to make the song as naughty as it was designed to be.

There is something here. Bruno Giraldi is not lacking in talent, and he certainly is not lacking in drive, a fact made clear by the information that he cold-called many of the strangers in the audience to offer them free seats to his show; but it is in the artistic creation of the show and the presentation thereof where he needs to do some work. If he were in an acting class, his instructor might suggest to him that he strip it down, go to the simplest, most authentic place inside of himself, and start over by looking at the source material, in this case, HIM, and the text of the songs that he will use to bring himself to his audience. With some concentration on fine-honing his vocal skills and on presenting something more akin to The Bruno Giraldi Show and less like The Bruno Mars Show, this writer has no doubt whatsoever that this dream is within his reach.

But first, Bruno Giraldi must go back to the barre.

Learn about shows playing Don't Tell Mama by visiting their website

BWW Review: Bruno Giraldi Tries Hard In THIS IS BRUNO at Don't Tell Mama BWW Review: Bruno Giraldi Tries Hard In THIS IS BRUNO at Don't Tell Mama Photos by Stephen Mosher

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